The Sunday Post, A Scottish newspaper, reports that a piracy computer chip is now being used in Scotland. The chip uses the R4 to become the ultimate piracy tool and is said to have huge implications for the gaming industry.
It's sold for around £40 and creates a virtual unlimited passport to pirated software titles for the Nintendo DS. The R4 allows users to illegally download games directly from the Internet, and fits into the DS cartridge slot allowing people to transfer anything saved on a removable flash disk.
The newspaper reports that millions of people from around the world are currently playing R4-borne games such as Brain Training and Mario Kart which creates a massive headache for Nintendo.
The Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association believe many Scottish gamers are using R4s brought from Internet sites and dodgy traders.
John Hillier, Manager of ELSPA's Intellectual Property Crime Unit, said, “Legitimate business is at serious risk from the R4 – retail, wholesale and manufacturers .”
“It gets around the protection built into the Nintendo DS to prevent playing of unauthorized games. The R4 in effect blinds the console and makes it think it's seeing a genuine game. Trading standards and police are finding these devices in raids on people who sell pirated games.”
Hillier also mentions that it's a criminal offense under UK copyright and patent laws to sell the R4 chip, punishable by two years in jail or an unlimited fine.
One Nintendo gamer from Lanarkshire told the Sunday Post that he downloaded more than 50 DS games illegally using the chip which should have cost him £15 – £30 each.
“The implications are massive. In America it's thought 90 percent of Nintendo users are playing pirated games because of R4s.” Said Hillier.
“That's the real danger – you may think you're getting a good deal but using the R4 is risking the future of the games industry."
A Nintendo spokesperson told the newspaper that they are monitoring the situation closely.